In our last Avera Medical Minute we talked about the new concussion law enacted in South Dakota intended to keep kids out of play after suffering a concussion until their doctor signs off that they're brain has healed. Nancy Naeve Brown talks to a pediatrician about the dangers of overuse and overtraining in young athletes.
Cole Edwards is already a standout on the O'Gorman Junior High cross country team, but it doesn't come without a lot of punishing work on the pavement.
Cole says, "It's a good challenge. It takes more than any other sports."
Even as an 8th grader Cole takes this sport very seriously, but if he's not careful, Pediatrician Dr. Sam Schemilpfenig at the Main McGreevy Clinic Avera says he could end up with serious overuse or overtraining injuries.
Dr. Sam says, "Anyone who is highly active and the more active you are the more at risk you are. We especially see it in younger athletes playing multiple sports or playing the same sport everyday of the week and never giving the body a chance to rest. That is the biggest risk factor. The best advice really is to allow your body a chance to rest so it can recover."
Cole is guilty of being super active. After cross country practice he was heading to the rink for hockey practice. Cole admits he sometimes over-does-it.
Cole says, "A few times I've pulled muscles and hurt by ankles and knees, shin splints"
Pediatrician Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig says, "In children they actually have an additional risk factor because their growth plates are still open so doing a lot of sports puts extra stress on those growth plates that can cause certain injury patterns."
The cross country coaches are heeding the doctors' advice by making sure their student athletes warm-up with plenty of stretching, cooling down the same way.
Cole says," Good stretching, try the same routines don't rush anything. If something doesn't feel right make it fell right before you push it too hard."
Dr. Sam says, "The most important thing I talk to families about is if their symptoms aren't getting better when they rest it's definitely important for them to seek medical attention."
Dr. Sam says another thing that can prevent injuries is to make sure the shoes you are running in are made for the type of running you are doing and fit your feet correctly. It's also a good idea to replace those running shoes more often depending on usage which could be every 6 to 9 months.
Dr. Sam says, "Kids are especially prone to stress fractures. Those can start off seeming mild inconveniences, but if you don't address them early they can become much more severe."
Cole may promote *speed wins* (it's on his t-shirt) but he really knows to stay healthy he'll have to slow down and take a day off every week to stay in the race for the finish line long term.
The other thing Dr. Sam Schemilpfenig about is if you haven't been active for a long period of time, don't jump into an intense workout routine. You need to gradually work up to a higher level or you'll probably get hurt.